Franak Vyachorka, leader of “The Youth of BPF”, and Ivan Shyla, deputy head of the “Young Front”, made statements on unlawful attempts of the authorities to draft them into army.
Statements of Franak Vyachorka:
“On February 18, 2008, I was expelled from the third year of journalism faculty of Belarusian State University, and thus deprived of my legal right for education. My grade point average for 5 semesters was 8.6 out of 10, I considered to be one of the best students of the course. Formal reason for the expulsion was two exams, I missed in January, serving a term of arrest in the fabricated case, on a charge of using swear words. Though I don’t speak Russian, it’s my principle. I wasn’t given an opportunity to take exams later.
I went to law against this decision. In spite of vivid process violations, the court dismissed the appeal. I applied the rector for three times for him to allow me to study again, but I was denied. I was enrolled in exiled European Humanities University in Vilnius, but I can’t go there for a exam session, because I am in the list of restricted to leave Belarus since June 28, 2008.
In summer and autumn 2008, I appeared before physical evaluation board. The district commission found me unfit. But in late September, I was said the regional commission didn’t confirm the results of the examination, sent me to the Republican Military Hospital for re-examination. I was at this establishment two times. The last time, I was detained and guarded there, as if I had been a criminal. In hospital, they hid results of examination, X-rays pictures and my medical card. They examined my hypertonia, but the discharge list doesn’t say a word about of blood pressure numbers. I have serious ground to suppose chief of the department Vodchyts G.V., doctor Tsimoshchanka M.M., and deputy chief of hospital Zharyn V.A. just forged the results of examination to fulfil an order “from above” and fond me able-bodied.
When I said I would go to law, on January 16, unknown people burst into my ward #319 of the heart disease department, twisted my arms, beat, tried to handcuff me. They get me out to the yard by force, pushed into a car, and took to the military enlistment office. I wasn’t discharged from hospital, medical examination wasn’t completed. In the military enlistment office, it took 5 minutes for the draft board to find me able-bodied. Head of the draft board M. Shypai and military commissioner lieutenant colonel Zahorski received orders from officers of secret services.
I am an active citizen, I haven’t used to keep aloof. I consider these repressions to be a result of mu activity in executive bodies of the Belarusian Popular Front and “The Youth of BPF”. I obey the law, and expect other people to do this. My draft into army is politically motivated. We are witnesses of renewal of “repressive medicine” which aim is to forge diagnoses and call up the most active young men regardless to their state of health.
In this connection I say that
1) I am going to appeal t court against the decision of the draft board and actions of the staff of the Republican Military Hospital. I will seek to bring to responsibility those who support unlawful call-up of me. According to the law, I can’t be drafted until the court delivers a final decision;
2) I am ready to appear before independent medical board and go to army if I am found able-bodied. This commission should consist of independent medical workers, who won’t be pressed by the Ministry of Defence and the secret services;
3) I will demand that persons who beat me on January 16, 2009, and detain me unlawfully, should be brought to responsibility;
4) I will demand to admit me to studying in Belarusian State University, where I had been unlawfully expelled from, and I will also demand to protect my right for education.
Franak Vyachorka, January 19, 2009”
Copies of the statement has been sent to mass media, the prosecutor’s office of the Savetski district, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defence the Savetski district military enlistment office of Minsk.
Statement of Ivan Shyla:
“One can’t follow the rules in the country where rules do not exist. I have understood for the years of my membership in the “Young Front” that the law can be interpreted in different ways according to a political course. Rules can be violated by those who demand the others to obey them.
This touches all spheres of public life. We have no equality and justice, guaranteed by the Constitution.
I haven’t spoken much about this matter of call-up. Because I wasn’t sure a reason for it is political and if it is influential. I was keeping silence, though I had ground to say: conclusion of the first commission, recognized me unfit for military service, were suddenly changed, I was restricted to leave Belarus and I must have appeared before the draft board, though my medical examination hadn’t been completed.
I was detained by militia officers and guarded to the military enlistment office, though I was going to visit it myself. Camera crew of the Belarusian television came and KGB officers consulted colonel Zaichynski, military commissioner of the Salihorsk district. I saw the medical workers settling disputable matters during some minutes.
I don’t believe in accidents. I would like, but their number gives a reason to consider a set of circumstances to be a trend or inevitability. One and a half years ago, I was sentenced for “participation in unregistered organization”, six months ago, I was expelled from school before my last final exam. It is not a list of my achievements or advances. It is statement of facts, proving that citizenship has lead to negative consequences and political pressure. I have never called for mercy or pity, it is an informed choice. A choice should be principal and consistent.
I have had a number of meetings for the last days, including meetings with medical workers, who made diagnoses. I have reliable information that the medical commission was pressed by KGB officers. That’s why I find a conclusion about my state of health unlawful, as a principle of independent medicine was violated. Even if the diagnosis is correct, agreeing to serve in army is means agreeing with impudence and outrage.
This situation is not common, so it needs special approaches to solve it.
I am ready to serve in army and fulfil the law that won’t be violated by officers of the Ministry of Defence. The law is equal for everyone not only at the time of drafting.
I have a principal position, I want to dot the i’s. I am not going to think up diseases, dodge, or break fingers. I should say unambiguously what is black and what is white.
I realize the possible consequences and I am ready to meet them. I am not going to leave Belarus.
I am an optimist, but being an optimist in Belarus means demanding the impossible, that is why:
1) I am ready to appear before the independent medical board and go to army if it finds me able-bodied., I will come to the military enlistment office myself On February 3, after the winter drafting will be over, to avoid unlawful forceful sending me to a military unit, as it happened with Zmitser Zhaleznichenka, activist of the BPF Party, a year ago.
2) I state I won’t perform the Law on Military Duty until KGB officers and the military commissioner of the Salihorsk district, who pressed members of the medical board, are brought to responsibility.
3) I state violation of my rights, biased attitude to me and pressure applied by KGB officers upon medical workers are not a coincidence but a political persecution and “political call-up” that is becoming a tendency in Belarus.
4) I demand not to restrict my right for education, it means to allow me to finish secondary school and take an exam in May 2009.
Copies of the statement has been sent to mass media, the republican prosecutor’s office the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defence, the Salihorsk district military enlistment office.
Ivan Shyla, January 19, 2009”